Octopus by Guy Lawson
Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con

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THIS is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls “Liar’s Poker,” the Michael Lewis book from more than 20 years ago.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Octopus is a real-life thriller that tells the inside story of an audacious hedge fund fraud and the wild search, by a colorful cast of rogues and schemers, for a “secret market” beneath the financial market we all know.
 
Sam Israel was a man who seemed to have it all – until the hedge fund he ran, Bayou, imploded and he became the target of a nationwide manhunt.  Born into one of America’s most illustrious trading families, Israel was determined to strike out on his own.  So after apprenticing with one of the greatest hedge fund traders of the 1980’s, Sam founded his own fund and promised his investors guaranteed profits.  With the proprietary computer program he’d created, he claimed to be able to predict the future.
 
But his future was already beginning to unravel.
 
After suffering devastating losses and fabricating fake returns, Israel knew it was only a matter of time before his real performance would be discovered, so when a former black-ops intelligence operative told him about a “secret market” run by the Fed, Israel bet his last $150 million on a chance to make billions. Thus began his year-long adventure in “the Upperworld” -- a society populated by clandestine bankers, shady European nobility, and spooks issuing cryptic warnings about a mysterious cabal known as the Octopus.
 
Whether the “secret market” was real or a con, Israel was all in – and as the pressures mounted and increasingly sinister violence crept into his life, he struggled to break free of the Octopus’ tentacles.

 

About Guy Lawson

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GUY LAWSON has traveled the world reporting on war, crime, politics, and sports. His work has appeared in many national publications, including the New York Times, Harper's, GQ, and Rolling Stone, and he previously coauthored The Brotherhoods. He and his family make their home in upstate New York.
 
Published July 10, 2012 by Crown. 370 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Crime. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Octopus
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Bryan Burrough on Jun 30 2012

THIS is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls “Liar’s Poker,” the Michael Lewis book from more than 20 years ago.

Read Full Review of Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secr... | See more reviews from NY Times

Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Hunter on Jul 21 2012

The reader needs a lot of patience or a degree in forensic accounting to really follow the serpentine plot.

Read Full Review of Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secr... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for Octopus
72%

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